Some recruiters appear to have lost the art of being curious. To some that won’t come as a concern. To our industry, it should be a concern.
Since the late 1500’s we’ve spoken of a proverb about curiosity killing a cat.
While being inquisitive in other people’s affairs may be seen as troublesome to some, if you don’t own a curious mindset in recruitment you’re heading the same way as the cat.
This blog looks at why incuriosity could be having an adverse affect on the current standard of work across the recruitment industry.
I’ve been very fortunate to work alongside some fantastic recruiters. I’ve worked alongside many recruiters who’ve had an insatiable desire to learn new skills.
We’ve trained together. We’ve shared ideas. We’ve challenged and sharpened each others processes and styles. We’ve grown better together by instilling a deep and curious mindset.
We never thought that we were the finished article. We wanted to know how to better ourselves – all the time! To us, the science behind recruitment has always been a mystery!
It is a fact that curiosity is heavily associated with all aspects of human development. Curiosity instills a process of learning and a consistent desire to acquire new knowledge and skills
Incuriosity and the fallout
But things have changed in recruitment. These days more and more recruiters feel that they don’t need to master new skills or improve the skills they already have.
They feel they have enough to get by. They appear to have an apparent lack of desire to learn new skills and acquire a higher level of knowledge. There is a lack of enthusiasm for reading material, asking smarter questions or even attending training courses.
Many employers haven’t helped either. They’ve overlooked training their recruiters in favour of cutting costs in a downturn. They think that their recruiters have enough to get by and like their recruiters, they will become extinct.
Right now in the Australian recruitment industry, recruiters are leaving in droves. Understandably many will feel that they’ve given it a go and it wasn’t for them and that’s a pity because they could have become better at recruitment.
Many are leaving because potential clients have switched on to the same thing – recruiters aren’t remotely interested in their business. And there lies the problem – a foolish case of incuriosity.
This incuriosity has been evident in their work, ultimately having an adverse affect on how they’ve performed.
Job briefs have been taken on post-it notes. Candidates have received very little information on jobs. Clients have received CV’s that don’t match what they are looking for.
Referencing candidates has been poorly done. 2-3 questions about someone’s ability to do a job is nowhere near sufficient to make a decision on a candidate’s ability to perform.
Both candidates and clients have suffered and no doubt the agencies who’ve had to pay rebates.
But why is curiosity becoming irrelevant in the recruitment industry?
Do we even care?
Let’s go back to our childhoods. Children possess curiosity in abundance. For those of us who have children the question ‘why?’ is one that regularly surfaces. Children have an insatiable desire to learn.
As we start school, we begin a magical journey of learning new skills and information. This continues throughout primary and secondary school.
We’re then prepared for employment. Somewhere in between our nature to become curious learners erodes. But while this happens we can’t fully blame teachers or the education system. We lose our curiosity because we’ve forgotten how to be curious. Some of us have quite simply stopped caring.
Look at some of the greatest minds in our history. It goes without saying that they have been deeply curious thinkers and doers. To them, there were mysteries to explore.
Curiosity and the benefits
Curiosity allows recruiters to explore in greater detail. Asking smarter questions allows us to take better job briefs and build better presentations to potential candidates.
Digging deeper into reference checks may allow us to uncover hidden problems with candidates long before we’re writing a rebate cheque for an unhappy client.
Asking better questions will raise our profile and credibility with both clients and candidates. In turn, our referrals increase because they want to work with us more.
Being curious also shows we’re taking more of an interest in everyone and that can only help us in the long run.
Curiosity is far from irrelevant. As recruiters, our future and success is dependent upon it. If we really want to continue to learn and master what we do, some of us have to change our mindsets and become curious again.
We owe it to ourselves to rediscover that curiosity.
If I was to offer one piece of advice to the next recruiter who tells me that they know everything, it would be to remember an unconventional ABC approach to recruitment.
Always Be Curious.
Author: Based in Perth, Western Australia, Mark Pearce is the Client Relationship Manager for Fircroft Australia. He has been in the recruitment industry for 15 years. He has written a series of articles on the recruitment industry and a series of how-to articles for employers and employees, find it at markpearce.net.